August 5, 2013
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) and Subcommittee on Water and Power Chairman Tom McClintock (CA-04) sent a letter
to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell highlighting the lack of transparency surrounding the National Blueways Program and seeking answers to critical questions that the Obama Administration has continually refused to answer. This letter expands on previous oversight activity
and document requests aimed at providing accountability and communication to local communities, which they have been denied.
“It is clear that the Department’s Blueways program still exists and could be implemented at any time in the future,” wrote Chairman Hastings and Chairman McClintock in the letter. “We find this troubling given the growing opposition to this program and our history of concern, which is outlined in an oversight letter sent on June 28th, 2013. That letter laid out a series of questions and documents requests that would be helpful for the Committee and the public to better understand how this program is actually being implemented as there are very few publically available documents available. The questions and communications requested in this letter as well as others were not answered, further reinforcing the lack of transparency and communication in this program.”
In the letter, Chairman Hastings and Chairman McClintock ask for explanations about the designation process, the makeup of the National Blueways Committee, the potential for federal land acquisition under the Order, and the involvement of Department of the Interior Senior Advisor Rebecca Wodder who served as CEO of American Rivers when the organization proposed the National Blueways program.
On Monday, July 29th the Subcommittee on Water and Power held a field hearing on the National Blueways designation of the White River in West Plains, Missouri. Hundreds of people attended the hearing, where witnesses discussed how the federal designation was imposed without local input and how it could have led to the imposition of land-use and water supply controls and recreational limits.
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